When you have a baby, everyone – from your parents, to your friends, to your Health Visitor, to the Grandmother in the park you have literally never laid eyes on before – want to know all about your baby’s milestones.
Do they crawl?
Can they pull up to stand?
Are they walking yet?
How many teeth – only 3?
Can they speak? How many words? Are they clear?
Are they sleeping through? How many hours?
Can they fetch their own milk from the fridge? I see… still so dependent.
Milestones seem to matter way more than they should to a lot of people; the obsession with the time they take to achieve them being a bit peculiar when you think about it. I’m yet to see a crawling 10 year old, or a teenager still supping milk from a Tommee Tippee bottle so I am not sure why there is such a rush to keep moving to the next stage. Personally, I ordered a baby not a mini-Einstein. But milestones matter, apparently; as if they didn’t, how would one Mum notify the others that her child was more intelligent, advanced and a better species of human than every other small? It would be chaos!
However, whilst all this stealth boasting and competitive parenting is going on, there appears to be no recognition for the milestones and firsts we as parents are achieving. Some big, some small but all of them valid – even if they don’t get recorded in the baby book or checked at the Health Clinic.
How many of the Top Ten can you tick off?
1. The first time your baby gets sick in your face.
2.The first time your baby does a poo in the bath and you react by squealing ‘What do I do? What do I do? No don’t touch it, it’s not a toy! What do I do?’ Your baby does not answer.
3.The first time you go out in the car to drive the baby to sleep… in your dressing gown… at 3 a.m.
4.The first time you squirt breast milk on to a stranger – accidentally, of course.
5. The first time you sing The Wheels on the Bus in a crowded surgery waiting room, complete with actions and dancing to calm your post-jab baby who has a serious axe to grind.
6. The first time you eat a takeaway curry over your sleeping baby because you are too frightened that removal from your lap will wake them. Impressively, you only spill a little rice on their head.
7. The first time you expose your nipple to the postman. You are not actually breastfeeding but in your sleep deprived state, forget to put the old girls away.
8. The first time you put the cheese in the cupboard, the salt in the fridge and microwave the bread instead of toasting it. It had been a bad night.
9. The first time you and your partner both have a ‘Where is the baby? Is there a spider in the crib? How did the baby get in to the drawer?’ freak-out in the middle of the night because your tired and anxious first-time-parent dreams have synchronised.
10. The first time you realise you no longer have any dignity, just a desperate desire to stop your baby screaming, and will do any of the above, a hundred thousand times over if it comforts your precious little bundle and gives you even just a moment of peace.
Have you achieved these milestones yet? Don’t worry if not, some parents are just more advanced than others. You’ll get there, you will get there.
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